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Verbatim or Paraphrasing: Which Call Center Script is Best for You?

Call centers use scripts for several reasons. Scripting allows you to control messaging and ensure agents are providing a consistent service experience to every customer. Scripts help move calls along efficiently. And they can reinforce your brand as a helpful listener. But different styles of scripts work best in different situations.  

Here is a comparison of two common styles of scripts and why they may or may not be best for your purpose.

Types of Call Center Scripts

There are two types of call center scripts commonly used — verbatim and call flow or paraphrasing. Each type has its place in the customer service industry, so it is up to you to decide which style works best for your brand.

Verbatim

Sometimes you want a call center script that agents can read verbatim. This works well when calls are generally short and transaction-based, or, for example, when a disclaimer needs to be read.

Advantages of a verbatim script:

  • No need for agents to deviate from the script.
  • The call center can control messaging and branding.
  • It is easy to direct callers through a call flow.
  • Mitigates agent errors
  • Easier to check for quality assurance
  • You receive expected outcomes.
  • It is easier to coach agents to be exact.

Disadvantages of a verbatim script:

  • Messaging can sound robotic and disingenuine.
  • Agents can become flustered when a call does not go as expected.
  • Agents can become bored and unchallenged.
  • Agents may become angry when coached repeatedly if one or two words are off script.

Call Flow or Paraphrasing

Call flow, or paraphrasing, scripts act more as a guide to an agent's call. They can also be referred to as Freeform scripts. This type of script provides key phrases and expressions, and an outline of what typically happens on a call. They are often longer, more complex, and require the agent to use institutional knowledge. Paraphrasing scripts are commonly used when it is uncertain what the caller may need during the transaction.

Advantages of a paraphrasing script:

  • Agents have the freedom to make logical decisions around a guide they must follow on a call.
  • Callers typically remember the conversation because it is longer and about the agent and caller, not a step-by-step transactional call.
  • Agents can feel challenged and appreciated for their knowledge.
  • It is more engaging and genuine.

Disadvantages of a paraphrasing script:

  • More difficult to train agents
  • Training typically lasts longers.
  • More challenging to grade for quality assurance

As you can see, verbatim and paraphrasing scripts are beneficial for different reasons. The type of script you use for your company depends on the scope and purpose of your call center. No matter what script you choose, your customers should feel well taken care of by your agents.

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